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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Apr;27(4):741-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06921.x.

Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease in Korea and associated health-care utilization: a national population-based study.

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Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, Research and Development Center, Seoul, Korea.



Few studies have reported temporal trends in the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and associated health-care utilization in Asia. The aim of this study was to investigate temporal changes in the prevalence of GERD and associated health-care utilization.


Patients with a primary or secondary disease code for GERD, according to the Korean Standard Classification of Diseases, were defined as having "doctor-diagnosed GERD". The prevalence of GERD from 2005 to 2008 was evaluated using Korean National Health Insurance claim data. Claims for proton pump inhibitors (PPI) over this period were also evaluated. Complications of GERD and health-care utilization characteristics, such as the use of diagnostic tests and prescriptions, were investigated.


The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed GERD increased rapidly from 4.6% to 7.3% between 2005 and 2008. Over the same period, the amount of PPI claims increased by 56%. People aged 30-39 years and females had a high frequency of GERD-related visits. Esophageal stricture was rare, and 23% of patients with GERD had peptic ulcers. Endoscopy was used as a diagnostic test in 34% of cases. Seventy-seven percent of patients with GERD were treated with PPI or H(2) receptor antagonists.


The prevalence of GERD increased rapidly from 2005 to 2008. The rapid increase of PPI use reflects the real increase in the prevalence of GERD and demand for health care. Middle-aged people and women had a high frequency of GERD visits. Therefore, GERD might be a significant disease burden in Korea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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